While Tom Brady undoubtedly brought his A-game to the Super Bowl, so did this year’s advertisers. Generally, people want uninterrupted programming, but advertisers pull out all the stops for their Super Bowl slots (costing on average $6 million for 30 seconds) and certainly didn’t disappoint this year.
While TV ads are considered a more traditional form of marketing, the best companies know that the tone of today is untraditional; you can’t add value and brand loyalty by simply pushing your products or adding a mascot. The best ads of this year’s Super Bowl, whether silly or serious, reflected a deep understanding of customers’ values and behaviours, which we know to be something that makes a company truly stand out. Here are 3 takeaways from the Super Bowl ads that can take your brand from good to great.
Stop : Doing what everyone else is doing.
Hyundai – A Better Super Bowl
Okay, so technically this ad aired right after the Super Bowl (before the trophy ceremony), but this might have been the best ad all night. Hyundai’s “A Better Super Bowl” ad did two things we haven’t seen before: included no cliché product shots (rare for an auto ad) and they filmed the whole ad during the game. Filming took place at Houston’s NRG Stadium and a military base in Zagan, Poland using satellite technology and 360-degree immersive pods, another innovative element to this ad.
We’ve all grown to expect a certain type of ad from automakers during the Super Bowl and this ad pretty much did the opposite. Hyundai has started a conversation by being different, calling the ad a “documentary”, and making a promise for improvement. This signals “we’re not the same as you remember us” and that elicits brand stickiness and curiosity in your customers.
Look : At how your company values align with your customers’ values.
Airbnb - #weaccept
Airbnb’s #weaccept ad borrowed Tom Brady’s stage for 30 seconds before the second quarter to highlight its commitment to providing short-term housing for 100,000 people in need over the next five years, including refugees, victims of natural disasters and aid workers. The company has also committed to donate $4 million over the next four years to the International Rescue Committee, a group that helps displaced people around the world.
Airbnb is an industry disruptor, no surprises there. The home-sharing network stirred lots of controversy with this ad, which underscored a highly topical discussion among Americans about diversity and acceptance. Airbnb took a risk by creating a provocative ad, but connected to its customers on an emotional and political level, fostering a reinforced sense of advocacy for Airbnb fans.
Listen : To what your customers are talking about.
Heinz - Smunday Campaign
Though it’s not the first time that someone proposed the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday be deemed a national holiday (think: that Brady superfan in your office or Coca-Cola in 2012), Heinz went ahead with their “Smunday” campaign anyways. Social media makes it easier than ever to tune into your customers’ conversations and that’s just what Heinz did. Sure, it’s an outlandish idea to try to make Smunday a real holiday, but Heinz tapped into internet chatter and produced an ad that truly reflected their customers’ culture, even with an old idea.
"The inspiration came from a conversation people have been having for years," Nicole Kulwicki, head of the Heinz brand. "Here at Heinz, we are all about never settling when it comes to taste or quality of condiments, and never settling when it comes to the day after one of the best sports days of the year."
While we might love staying in bed a little longer on Smunday morning, in Heinz-sight (see what we did there?) we love more seeing an awesome ad that says: we know our customers and, even though this isn’t an original idea, we give them what they want.
By creating these ads, the aforementioned companies set the bar for what “great” looks like. Creating relationships with customers, rather than pushing products or services, allow for easier buy-in from customers because they share common interests; we establish common ground and therefore a foundation of consumer trust. This invaluable understanding of customers resonates from within the organization, which leads to stellar brand reputation and outstanding customer care.